Urijah Faber retires

‘The California Kid’ Urijah Faber retires with win in hometown of Sacramento

‘The California Kid’ Urijah Faber retires with win in hometown of Sacramento

‘The California Kid’ Urijah Faber is without a doubt a future UFC Hall of Famer.  Tonight, the former World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight champion fought his final fight.  He went into tonight’s contest with a professional mixed martial arts record of 33-10.  With the win, Faber had his hand raised for the 34th time, his 10th under the UFC banner (not counting WEC, more on that later).

Faber retired with a win over Brad Pickett on the main card of UFC on FOX 22 in Sacramento.  He earned a unanimous decision, scoring 30-26 on all judges’ scorecards.Urijah Faber retires

Before becoming the most decorated fighter in WEC history, defending his title a record five times, Faber founded Team Alpha Male in 2004 which is to this day one of the best teams in mixed martial arts.

The team trains primarily out of Ultimate Fitness located in Sacramento, California and has produced professional fighters such as Joseph Benavidez, Justin Buchholz, Danny Castillo, Chris Holdsworth, Chad Mendes, Cody Garbrandt, Paige VanZant and the former UFC Bantamweight Champion, T.J. Dillashaw.

VanZant would headline tonight’s UFC on FOX 22 against Michelle Waterson.

From Urijah Faber’s Wikipedia page:

On March 17, 2006, Faber competed for the first time in the WEC promotion, beating Cole Escovedo by second round doctors stoppage and winning the WEC featherweight championship.

On May 13, 2006, he fought for the King of the Cage Bantamweight Championship for the third time, defeating Charlie Valencia by rear-naked choke submission at 3:09 of the first round. Faber then returned to GC July 1, 2006 and defeated Naoya Uematsu by TKO (strikes) at 3:35 of round 2 to reclaim the GC Bantamweight championship, thus holding three titles at once.

Faber then took a fight in the Full Contact Promotions organization on September 9, 2006, defeating Enoch Wilson by TKO (strikes) at 1:01 of the second round. On October 28, Faber returned to KOTC and defended his title for the fourth and last time, defeating Bibiano Fernandes by TKO (cut) at 4:16 of round 1. Faber later vacated his KOTC and GC titles upon signing a contract with the WEC after it was purchased by Zuffa in December 2006.


Faber would quickly become the face of the WEC.  He was the fighter that fan’s tuned into see.

At WEC 25: McCullough vs. Cope on January 20, 2007, Faber defended his WEC Featherweight Championship for the first time since winning it ten months prior, defeating Joe Pearson by submission(strikes) at 2:31 of the first round. At WEC 26: Condit vs. Alessio on March 24, 2007, he successfully defended his title for a second time by defeating Dominick Cruz by guillotine choke submission at 1:38 of round 1, the only loss of Cruz’s career.

At WEC 28: WrekCage on June 3, 2007, Faber defeated Chance Farrar by rear-naked choke submission at 3:19 of the first round. In his post-fight interview, Faber called out K-1 Hero’s 2005 Middleweight Tournament Champion Norifumi Yamamoto, though the fight never materialized. After this match, Faber took a six-month break between fights, the longest of his career. He came back at WEC 31: Faber vs. Curran on December 12, 2007, defeating Jeff Curran by guillotine choke submission at 4:34 of the second round.

Also on this card was the WEC debut of Jens Pulver, who was moving back down to Featherweight from the Lightweight division. In Pulver’s WEC debut, he submitted Cub Swanson in the first round of their match setting up a title match between Pulver and Faber. Pulver and Faber both commented in their post-fight interviews that they wanted to fight each other, and the match was signed for June 1, 2008 at WEC 34: Faber vs. Pulver.

Faber and Pulver fought a constant back-and-forth battle, but neither man was able to finish the other and the fight went the full five rounds, the first time in Faber’s WEC career that one of his fights had gone the distance. The judges scored the bout a unanimous decision for Faber, 50–45, 50–44 and 50–44. This fight also marked both the first time that one of Pulver’s fights at Featherweight had gone to decision and the first time Pulver had been defeated at that weight class.

Losing the title

Faber was next scheduled to fight Mike Brown at WEC 36 on September 10, 2008 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. However, this fight was postponed due to the threat of Hurricane Ike and was rescheduled for November 5, 2008 at the same location. Faber was defeated via TKO at 2:23 of the first round.

Road back to the title

On January 25, 2009 at WEC 38 Faber fought Jens Pulver in a rematch, with Faber winning by guillotine choke submission at 1:34 of the first round. Post-fight, Faber addressed WEC Featherweight Champion Mike Brown, who was seated at ringside and announced he wanted a shot at regaining his title. When Brown made his first successful title defense at WEC 39 in Corpus Christi, Texas, he responded to Faber’s comments by saying that a rematch between the two of them was something “the fans want to see.”

Faber was defeated a second time by Mike Brown at WEC 41 on June 7, 2009 by a unanimous decision (49–46, 49–46 and 48–47) in front of his hometown crowd in Sacramento. Early in the fight, Faber broke his right hand and later dislocated his left thumb, resorting to using primarily elbows and kicks starting in the third round. Nonetheless, even in the fifth round Faber threw 15 left hooks or jabs, many of which connected. Sherdog and ESPN.com in a post-fight article noted that Faber’s “right hand was no match for the top of Mike Brown’s head.” Immediately after the fight, Faber stated that despite the close decision, he would still like another fight against Brown.

Faber appeared on WEC 43 as a guest commentator and returned to action in January. He submitted Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, Raphael Assunção via rear-naked choke submission in third round at WEC 46, earning the Submission of the Night award.

With the victory over Assunção, Faber earned a shot to fight José Aldo for the WEC Featherweight Championship on April 24, 2010 at WEC 48. He was dominated throughout the fight by Aldo, mostly by kicks that sent him to the canvas several times. Faber lost via unanimous decision.

Move to bantamweight

Faber decided to move down to bantamweight after his defeat by José Aldo at featherweight. He was set to move down against Japanese striker Takeya Mizugaki on August 18, 2010 at WEC 50. However, Faber was forced off the card with an injury. As a result, Mizugaki was also pulled from the event.

The bout with Mizugaki was rescheduled and took place on November 11, 2010 at WEC 52. Faber defeated Mizugaki via first round rear naked choke, earning Submission of the Night honors. With the victory over Mizugaki, Faber won his ninth WEC bout, a promotional record he shares with Antonio Banuelos and Poppies Martinez.

Future UFC Hall of Famer

On October 28, 2010, the WEC merged with the UFC. As part of the merger, all WEC fighters were brought over to compete in the two new weight divisions.

Faber defeated former WEC Bantamweight Champion Eddie Wineland via unanimous decision in his UFC debut on March 19, 2011 at UFC 128.

A rematch with Dominick Cruz, whose only defeat came by Faber in 2007, took place on July 2, 2011 at UFC 132, in which Faber lost via unanimous decision, but earned Fight of the Night honors.

Faber faced Brian Bowles on November 19, 2011 at UFC 139. It was said that the winner would be awarded with a titleshot. Faber defeated Bowles via second round submission (guillotine choke), earning Submission of the Night honors.

Following his win at UFC 139, Faber was selected to be a coach on The Ultimate Fighter: Live opposite Dominick Cruz. Following the conclusion of the reality show, it was confirmed that Faber/Cruz III was expected to take place on July 7, 2012 at UFC 148. However, Cruz was forced to pull out of the bout citing ACL injury. It was then announced that Faber would remain on the UFC 148 fight card and face Renan Barão in a bout for the UFC Interim Bantamweight Championship, where the winner would go on to face Dominick Cruz for the UFC Undisputed Bantamweight Championship at a later date. Due to an injury to headliner José Aldo however (who was supposed to fight Erik Koch in the originally-scheduled main event), the Faber/Barão bout was moved from UFC 148 on July 7, 2012 to UFC 149 on July 21, 2012 as the events’ new main event. He lost the fight by unanimous decision, suffering a broken rib during the first round.

Faber faced Ivan Menjivar in a rematch on February 23, 2013 at UFC 157. Faber defeated Menjivar in the first round with a rear-naked choke submission.

On April 13, 2013, Faber faced Scott Jorgensen at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale. After a fast-paced and technical fight, Faber submitted Jorgensen via rear naked choke at 3:16 in the 4th round. In the ringside interview, Faber noted, “He knows my stuff, so it was a tough fight. He made one small technical error, and I was able to capitalize on it. Props to Scotty for being a great fighter.”

Faber faced Iuri Alcântara on August 17, 2013 at UFC Fight Night 26. Despite being in trouble early in the first round, Faber recovered and used his wrestling and relentless top game, outstriking Alcântara 127 to 25 over the duration of the bout. As a result, Faber earned a unanimous decision victory.

Faber faced Michael McDonald on December 14, 2013 at UFC on Fox 9. In the second round, Faber stunned McDonald with a flurry of punches, McDonald went to the canvas and Faber jumped on him and finished the fight by submission due to a guillotine choke. Subsequently, Faber was awarded with Submission of the Night honors for his performance.

When Dominick Cruz injured himself before his unification bout with Renan Barão, Faber was chosen as the replacement in the title fight at UFC 169. Faber lost the fight via TKO in the first round. During the fight, Barão knocked Faber down, after which he proceeded to strike him on the ground. Faber grabbed Barão’s leg & gave the referee the thumbs-up, indicating that he is fine. The referee didn’t see the thumbs-up & thought Faber was in trouble, so he stepped in to end the fight, to the surprise of Faber & the spectators. In his Post-Fight interview, he told Joe Rogan that he believed his teammate TJ Dillashaw should get the next crack at Barão. Faber’s walkout song is Crazy in Love by Beyoncé.

Faber next faced Alex Caceres at UFC 175 on July 5, 2014. He won the fight via submission, making Caceres tap to a rear-naked choke at 1:09 of the third round.

Faber was briefly linked to a bout with Masanori Kanehara on September 20, 2014 at UFC Fight Night 52. However, before the bout was officially announced, Faber was removed and Kanehara faced Alex Caceres.

Faber next faced Francisco Rivera on December 6, 2014 at UFC 181. Faber won the fight via second round submission. However, the ending was controversial, as Faber stunned Rivera with an eyepoke during a standup exchange. The eyepoke went unnoticed by the referee, but immediately preceded the fight ending submission. Rivera’s management team indicated that they planned to appeal the result in hopes that it would be changed to a no contest, and that the UFC could schedule a rematch with Faber. Ultimately, the NSAC upheld the result of a submission victory for Faber.

A rematch with top contender Raphael Assunção was expected to headline UFC Fight Night 62 on March 21, 2015.However, Assunção was forced out of the bout as an ankle first injured in mid-December 2014 was slow to heal and that he was unable to resume the proper training to prepare for the fight in that time frame.Subsequently, the UFC removed Faber from the card, and he is expected to be rebooked, possibly against a new opponent at a different event.

A long speculated “superfight” with former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar took place on May 16, 2015 at UFC Fight Night 66. After speculation as to what weight class the bout was to be contested, either featherweight, bantamweight or at a catchweight of somewhere in between, it was announced that the bout would be contested at featherweight. Faber lost the fight via unanimous decision, this was his first career loss in a non-title bout.

Faber faced Frankie Saenz on December 12, 2015 at UFC 194 He won the back-and-forth fight by unanimous decision.

A rubber match with Dominick Cruz took place on June 4, 2016 at UFC 199 for the UFC Bantamweight Championship. Faber lost by unanimous decision.

Faber next faced Jimmie Rivera on September 10, 2016 at UFC 203. He lost the fight via unanimous decision.”

His fight tonight with Pickett was his last.

How will you remember ‘The California Kid’?

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